First Wärtsilä 31 engines selected for state-of-the-art icebreaker

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release, 9 October 2015 at 09:30 UTC+2
  • W31-Atomflot

The recently introduced Wärtsilä 31 engine, which has been acknowledged by Guinness World Records as being the world’s most efficient 4-stroke diesel engine, has been selected to power a state-of-the-art new generation icebreaker currently under construction at the PJSC Vyborg Shipyard. The ship is being built on behalf of FSUE Atomflot, the enterprise of ROSATOM, the State Corporation for Atomic Energy. The order was signed in September.

When delivered, the icebreaker will serve the Yamal LNG project in Sabetta, located northeast of the Yamal peninsular in Russia. The project is one of the largest industrial undertakings in the Arctic. Fuel efficiency and reliability were the two major deciding factors behind the choice of the Wärtsilä 31 engine. Other key considerations in the decision process were the engine’s operational flexibility and its outstanding performance in extreme environmental conditions. The new vessel will operate in temperatures as low as minus 50°C.  

The new generation icebreaker Aker ARC 124 will feature three 8-cylinder Wärtsilä 31 engines. The installation will also include Wärtsilä’s online monitoring of the engines, thereby enabling their operating condition to be closely followed remotely. An additional characteristic of the newly introduced vessel is that it will feature a totally new approach to maintenance. The first major service required by the Wärtsilä 31 comes only after 8000 running hours (compared to 2000 running hours for engines of a similar class), thus making the Wärtsilä 31 a clear leader in this field. This dramatic improvement reduces maintenance costs to a previously unattainably low level, as well as greatly increasing the vessel’s uptime availability.

“When the Wärtsilä 31 engine was introduced in June, a new approach to marine power generation was launched. By combining a drastic reduction in fuel consumption, increased power output, and a four-fold extension of normal maintenance intervals, our customers now have the chance to redefine how they operate their vessels to a new level of competitiveness. FSUE Atomflot’s selection of the Wärtsilä 31 engine after such a short time following its introduction, confirms the value that this engine brings to the market,” says Roger Holm, Senior Vice President, Engines, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.

“We are confident that this project will be a success because of Wärtsilä’s credibility in the industry, and the positive experience from our long established partnership with this solutions provider. High vessel availability and fuel efficiency are the key winning factors for any ship owner. The Wärtsilä 31 engines will facilitate a significant improvement in vessel operations, making it extremely competitive on the market. This new icebreaker, powered by Wärtsilä 31 engines, will be the most technologically advanced ship of its kind in the whole world,” noted FSUE Atomflot First Deputy Director General – Chief Engineer Mustafa Kashka.

“We are extremely proud to have the opportunity to realize a project involving the newest and most modern domestic icebreaker. This vessel harmoniously combines the operating flexibility and efficiency of the power plant, with high safety standards and good ergonomics of the ship’s equipment. Despite the fact that the Vyborg shipyard has already had orders for six icebreakers, we are confident that this icebreaker, the Aker Arc124 will rightly take its place among the most efficient modern domestic vessels operating in Arctic waters,” says Alexander Solovyev, General Director of PJSC Vyborg Shipyard.

The Wärtsilä 31 engine

The Wärtsilä 31 is the first of a new generation of medium speed engines, designed to set a new benchmark in efficiency and overall emissions performance. It is available in 8 to 16 cylinder configurations and has a power output ranging from 4.2 to 9.8 MW, at 720 and 750 rpm. This 4-stroke engine has the best fuel economy of any engine in its class. At the same time, it maintains outstanding performance across the complete operating range. Its modular design enables a significant reduction in maintenance time and costs, thereby improving power availability and reducing the need for parts.

Links to press releases about the Wärtsilä 31 engine:
2 June, 2015; Wärtsilä launches the new Wärtsilä 31 engine: a breakthrough in efficiency
2 June, 2015; New Wärtsilä 31 engine achieves Guinness World Records title

Link to image
Caption: The new Wärtsilä 31 engine will power the icebreaker currently under construction at the PJSC Vyborg Shipyard.

Media contacts: 

Mr Giulio Tirelli
Director Engines Portf. & Applications
Wärtsilä Marine Solutions
Tel: +39 040 319 5654 

Ms Marit Holmlund-Sund
Senior Manager Marketing, Communications, Marine Solutions
Wärtsilä Corporation
Tel: +358 10 709 1439


Wärtsilä in brief:
Wärtsilä is a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising technological innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximizes the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. 
In 2014, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 4.8 billion with approximately 17,700 employees. The company has operations in more than 200 locations in nearly 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki, Finland.